Associate Professor of English, University of Michigan-Flint. I research and teach rhetoric and writing.
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UM – Flint tenured faculty begin unionization efforts, propelled by governance, pay, work life, university climate concerns

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By Jan Worth-Nelson

The tenured and tenure-track faculty at the University of Michigan – Flint (UMF)  have begun efforts to unionize.

A group of about 16 organizers have been meeting, circulating information and membership cards, and consulting with eligible colleagues.  The union would be called UMF AFT-AAUP Local 5671 [American Federation of Teachers — American Association of University Professors,  affiliating with a labor union representing more than 270,000 higher education workers nationwide.

They say they are propelled by concerns about work load, campus climate, pay equity and alleged administration attempts to quash dissent. Answers to all questions posed by East Village Magazine were provided as collective replies from the organizing group through emails from Sarah Rosaen, professor of communication.  The committee includes both pre- and post-tenure colleagues, though most already have tenure.

“Anyone who has signed a union card is welcome to join the Organizing Committee, and we encourage interested colleagues to do so. We are working toward building a union that is as broad and representative of tenure track faculty as possible, and so we welcome participation from as many diverse voices as possible,”  they asserted.

UM Board of Regents meeting in Ann Arbor. (Photo source: screenshot from Zoom meeting)

“By our count, there are 164 UM-Flint faculty members in the tenure stream across all six academic units who fall into the pool of potential union members, Our Organizing Committee has representatives from five of the six units, but we are always welcoming more as we aim to be as diverse and representative as possible,” they said. Those “tenure stream” faculty are those hired into the tenure track with a path to tenure:  assistant, associate and full professors.

It would be for the Flint campus only, “though we would be, of course, in solidarity with any efforts by our colleagues on other campuses to unionize,”  they stated.

In a separate email received April 20, Rosaen said organizers are encouraged by the initial response.  In just the first month of the campaign, she reported, 46% of those eligible had filled out union cards, in practice a vote for membership.

East Village Magazine requests for comment from Regents Michael Behm and Regent Chair Paul Brown have so far gone unanswered.  The organizers said both Brown and Behm, who lives in Grand Blanc, attended their first “going public” meeting.  That meeting was closed to the press, so EVM was unable to independently confirm what Brown and Behm said there. The Regents are the elected governing body for the University of Michigan system.

U of M Board of Regents Trustee Mike Behm speaking at a campaign event for Gov. Whitmer in the Flint Farmers Market. (Photo by Tom Travis)

But organizers reported  the two regents described  the university policy on neutrality toward union organizing and said that “they support, in general, the right of university employees to organize.”

GEO union strike an ongoing backdrop

The University of Michigan has collective bargaining agreements with many units, detailed here — but this would be the first, if successful, among tenure-track or tenured faculty.

The path has not always been congenial. In fact, The UM – Flint campaign is occurring simultaneously with  bitter negotiations involving another union. The Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO),  the labor union representing about 2,300 graduate student instructors and graduate student staff assistants across UM’s three campuses, went on strike March 29 and was castigated by the Regents in an April 21 statement after GEO protestors stormed a restaurant where UM President Santo Ono was dining with students.   As of April 22, that strike continues around a contract that expires May 1.

UM President Santa Ono, PhD. (Photo source: UM Facebook page)

Asked if UM – Flint’s top executive, Chancellor Deba Dutta wished to comment about  UM – Flint’s unionizing efforts, Robb King, UM – Flint director of marketing and communications, responded, “The university has no comment at this time.”

As the organizers explained, “The university policy on neutrality allows for the formation of a union by “card check,” meaning that once a majority of employees in a potential unit have signed union cards, they can file for recognition. Essentially, the card check is the election, and this is the path we intend to take to recognition.”

Each of the eligible faculty categories for the emerging UM – Flint union are determined by criteria set out by university standards and within each department, including hiring terms,  years on the job, whether they have published scholarly work, teaching performance based in part on student evaluations, and participation in institutional processes such as departmental and unit committees.  It generally takes six years for a tenure-track faculty member to achieve tenure, which usually means a pay increase and job security going forward.

Many concerns animate the unionization efforts.   In statements provided to EVM, organizers listed:

Faculty governance — that is, the degree to which faculty communicate and influence institutional issues.  UM – Flint is in theory is run by shared governance between administration and  faculty,  but in fact most faculty say in reality actual decisions are made by the administrative superstructure, sometimes without consultation with faculty.

Concerns over workload and workplace climate — see detailed example below.

A desire to advocate for better public funding for the institution,  Of UMF’s 2022-23 budget of about $116 million, an estimated state appropriation of $26.2 million, or about 22 percent, was approved, a $784,000 increase over the previous year.  The percentage of state support in the UMF’s budget has  declined from a high of 67 percent in 1987.  Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2024 includes a proposed 4% increase for all three UM campuses.

Pay that does not keep up with inflation,  As detailed in a recent EVM report, UM – Flint faculty received an average of 3.5% for the current year.  Who gets what varies widely, even among tenure-track and tenured faculty.

The average UM – Flint full-time salary, according to 2021-2022 numbers from, was $69,8K.  According to one private online workplace survey site, the average pay of UM – Flint professors is $139,000; to reach that range, a faculty member likely would be tenured or hold an executive position. The UMF’s top executive, Chancellor Dutta, received a 15 percent pay raise to $469,000 this year; 13 others had pay of $200K or more in 2021-2022.

Threats to tenure. In a Winter, 2023 website post of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), Marc Stein wrote, “In the last decade, conservatives have launched multiple attacks on faculty tenure in higher education. As we understandably focus on these episodes in states such as Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin, we too readily ignore slow and steady developments that are destroying tenure in California and other progressive states.”

Fear of arbitrary retaliation by administrators.  At an October, 2022 Board of Regents meeting, a former dean who had been fired complained of bullying and administrative chaos, and was joined by others alleging similar experiences and retaliation for dissent.

Concern over sudden and unilateral policy changes.  Faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), for example, recently reported a sudden move of several departments from CAS into the new College of Innovation and Technology (CIT), a decision allegedly made without  consultation — or fait accompli notice — with the Faculty Senate Council.

“In the nine months we have been organizing,”  they report, “we have come to realize that, across ranks and units, we have much more in common than we have dividing us. And whatever our specific issues, so many of us feel undervalued and unheard.

“The UMF AFT-AAUP is a vehicle for us to work together in our common interests, refuse to allow ourselves to be pit against each other, and recognize that all of our fates are tied together, as well as entwined with the fates of our students and the community as a whole.”

Not all faculty fall into the tenure stream.

There actually are more non-tenure-track (NTT)  faculty than tenure-track at UM-Flint — about 250 as of the 2022-23 records.  In general, NTT faculty get paid less and have less job security than those in the tenure track.

French Hall on the UM-Flint campus in downtown Flint. (Photo by Tom Travis)

That group unionized in 2004 after a tempestuous campaign in the early 2000s in an effort paralleling what is happening now with with the tenure-track faculty.  That union, the  Lecturers Employee Organization (LEO), applies to all three UM campuses, and has produced a long list of gains in working condition, health care benefits, and a tripling in minimum pay since 2003.

While a “Strategic Transformation” process underway, led by Chancellor Dutta  at the downtown Flint campus since last fall has raised numerous concerns about the lives and work of faculty and the direction of the university,  organizers said their efforts  are in fact “inspired by concerns faculty have held and voiced for a much longer period of time. That said, the Strategic Transformation has provided a nice moment to reflect upon our place in the university and broader community.”

“In some ways you might say that we see unionization as part of the Strategic Transformation, an effort that will make UM-Flint a better institution that is more sustainable and responsive to all of its constituents: students, community, faculty, and staff,”  they said.

Many faculty have been actively involved in the Strategic Transformation process, wrestling along with the rest of the institution as the campus faces several challenges, including a $7.3 million deficit and a 25 percent drop in enrollment over the last seven years. Last fall, Dutta predicted that deficit might surge to $13.9 million in the 2023 fiscal year. Some have bitterly critiqued a contract with the Huron Consulting group to run the process. Huron is a huge international  higher education consulting firm based in Chicago that has resulted in a number of similar institutions slashing  faculty, support staff, and liberal arts programs.

Asked for examples and detail about some of the nascent union’s concerns, organizers emphasized that those would be more fleshed out by members as the union coalesces.

“Our list of concerns is broad and compelling, having come out of nine months of conversations with colleagues. We remain struck by how many of these concerns are shared across units. However, it is difficult to offer much detail at the moment. This is because how we address such issues will be for our membership to decide through collective processes once we are recognized as a union.”

However, they suggested  one set of developments regarding faculty workload illustrates what they see as the need for unionization.

“Last academic year, the Provost’s Office developed, without faulty consultation, a draft workload proposal that sought to alter expectations regarding how much teaching, creative and scholarly work, and service should be counted as a percentage of overall effort for tenure-stream faculty. In addition, the proposal appeared to involve punitive measures for post-tenure faculty, in particular the possibility of increased teaching assignments for those deemed not productive enough in research.

“When leaked to faculty, the draft policy raised many questions, from how it might violate the principles of tenure to why administrators did not consult faculty during development. In response, UM-Flint’s AAUP chapter offered a statement to the Faculty Senate Council. Later, an FSC representative presented related concerns before the executive arm of UM’s tri-campus faculty governance system, SACUA, which later issued a resolution on the matter.

“As a result, the Provost’s Office pulled the university-wide draft proposal and directed academic units to develop their own workload policies. But we now hear from colleagues that these unit-level proposals mirror the original put forward by the administration. Amid this and reports of still other kinds of changes to workload, consultation with tenure-stream faculty, again, remains minimal. This experience with proposed workload policies over the past two years intersects with many of the concerns that have brought us together.

“To be clear, developing and/or revising expectations of effort is not the problem. What alarms us is the lack of authentic consultation with faculty, the disregard of existing institutions of faculty governance, the arbitrariness with which changes are being made or implemented, the ways in which the proposed policies impact the integrity of tenure, and the lack of concern for and devaluing of our work.

“If UM-Flint tenure-stream faculty were already unionized, the administration would not be in a position to unilaterally advance such changes in the middle of an academic year. Instead, any work-related measure would have to be negotiated via collective bargaining. This would also strengthen faculty governance, ensuring that the group most affected by the potential changes, i.e., tenure-stream faculty, was engaged in authentic consultation.

“Thus, the unionization of tenure-stream faculty would strengthen the institution and its ongoing transformation. It would do this by ensuring that the administration and tenure-stream faculty act as partners, supporting faculty governance on our campus, and ensuring that our labor and contributions to students, colleagues, and community are valued.  Indeed, the UMF AFT-AAUP has already hosted a series of workshops on workload. At these workshops, over 100 faculty and staff colleagues developed principles for a workload policy that would both allow for changes and value our time, work, and efforts.”

Part of a Flint tradition

Organizers note their efforts have particular significance historically for the city of Flint, where a nationally momentous sit-down strike by Fisher Body/General Motors employees in 1936 led to formation of the United Auto Workers (UAW), and where union efforts through the decades since have yielded layer upon layer of worker benefits and political influence.

“There are faculty within our ranks who are the proud children and grandchildren of union members, including those who participated in the Sit-Down Strike,”  the organizers wrote. “We are humbled by this, and we hope that we might, in some small way, take a place in Flint’s storied history of organized labor.”

The organizers said they see their efforts in a context of a larger movement toward revitalizing the labor movement — in Flint and nationally.

UM-Flint Recreation Center. (Photo by Tom Travis)

“At our going public event, the presidents of faculty unions at Eastern Michigan and Wayne State welcomed us into this unique moment within higher education, which has seen 25,000 new workers organized across the country,” they wrote.

“This recent rise in labor activism within higher education has been motivated in part by the desire to leverage the shared interests of faculty, students, staff, and the community at large. We know that our success depends on the success of these partners, and we see our efforts as being geared toward strengthening our institution and its positive impact in Flint and the broader Flint community. A stronger faculty means a stronger campus, and together we can all work towards a stronger Flint.”

As detailed in a Jan. 28 EVM story, the UM – Flint  campus is a major downtown employer:

According to (constantly changing) data from the UMF’s  Officer of Institutional Analysis and the UM Human Resources Information System, as of Nov, 1, 2022, UM – Flint employs 1,013 people,  with 717 (71 percent) full time and 296 part time (29 percent).

Of those  494 are Faculty, in the following categories:

  • 195 Tenured/Tenure Track Faculty (which includes 23 Academic/Administrators who are tenured faculty members and 1 Emeritus Faculty who is actively working)
  • 228 Lecturers
  • 8 LEO-GLAM (Librarians, Curators and Archivists)
  • 63 Clinical and Adjunct Clinical Faculty”

Here is the UMF AFT-AAUP Mission Statement: UMF AFT-AAUP Mission Statement

EVM Consulting Editor Jan Worth-Nelson can be reached at  As a UM – Flint non-tenure-track faculty in the English Department for 23 years, Worth-Nelson was part of the successful organizing effort to establish  the the Lecturers’ Employee Organization (LEO) in the early 2000s. She retired in 2014.

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Silence Isn’t Consent – Terence Eden’s Blog

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Weekly Review

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In Mexico, where more than 112,000 nationals are missing, two Americans who had entered the country seeking an affordable tummy tuck were rescued by Mexican authorities after having been mistaken for rival traffickers and kidnapped by the Scorpion Group of the Gulf Cartel.1 2 3 4 One day later, Mexican police found five men lying facedown in the street with their hands tied, along with a handwritten apology, purportedly from the cartel. “We are committed that the mistakes caused by lack of discipline are not repeated and that those responsible are made to pay, no matter who they are!!” the message said.5 Republicans called for military intervention against the cartels, which are often armed with guns purchased in the United States, and a conservative congressman from Georgia wondered if diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives contributed to the Norfolk Southern derailment.6 Mitch McConnell was hospitalized with a concussion, and George Santos was accused of leading a credit card skimming plot and of lying about needing to feed his fish to get out of a court hearing.7 8 9 Ben Savage, the former star of Boy Meets World, announced that he is running for Congress, and police engaged in a multi-hour standoff with an underwear-clad man on a rooftop in Topanga.10 11 A Republican representative who gave unofficial tours of Congress to attendees of Donald Trump’s Save America rally in the days before the Capitol riot was put in charge of a committee investigating the Democrat-led January 6 committee, and Tucker Carlson, who was reported to have sent text messages saying that he hates Trump passionately despite his praise of the former president on television, aired previously unreleased footage of the attempted insurrection in order to portray it as a peaceful protest.12 13 14 Psychologists revealed that Americans share fake news to fit in with their friends.15

A gunman killed seven, including himself, during a service at a Jehovah’s Witness Hall in Hamburg, and a man who fired blanks in a San Francisco synagogue was reported to have claimed that it was an act of prayer.16 17 A Catholic nonprofit was revealed to have spent millions on mobile app data identifying priests who used gay hookup apps.18 AT&T, the online health insurance marketplace for members of Congress, and Chick-fil-A were reported to have suffered data breaches.19 20 21 It was reported that the former U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson planned to nominate his father for a knighthood, and Prince Andrew was said to be furious that he could not wear a chivalric costume of flowing velvet robes and a headpiece topped with ostrich feathers to King Charles’s coronation.22 23 The British government announced a plan to remove nearly all asylum seekers who come by small boats via the English Channel, and the BBC faced a boycott after the beloved soccer presenter Gary Lineker was suspended for comparing this policy to 1930s-era Germany.24 25 “I don’t like Nazis. Nobody likes Nazis,” said a man who put up swastika flags in his apartment windows, claiming that they were to draw attention to his missing fiancée.26 Eight months after reporting her husband missing, a hoarder from Illinois found his body in her house.27 A prisoner in Maryland was convicted of attempted murder in a fight over juice boxes, and a Glasgow man was sentenced for robbing an ATM patron who turned out to be his own son.28 29 “Hey Greenwood! How ’bout we stop shooting each other?” read an Indiana billboard days after a deadly incident in a local bar.30 A man who stole approximately $24 from a gas station in China was revealed to have avoided police by living in a cave for 14 years.31

The trench of a Russian soldier who gave the middle finger to a Ukrainian drone was hit with several grenades, and a Luxembourgian MP flicked off a political opponent after he suggested that she had not written a speech that she delivered.32 33 “Flipping the proverbial bird is a God-given, Charter-enshrined right that belongs to every red-blooded Canadian,” a Quebec judge was reported to have ruled.34 A Virginia jurist used a 19th-century law about enslaved people  to decide that frozen human embryos can be considered property, and a committee of the West Virginia legislature defeated a bill that would have banned child marriage.35 36 The governor of Arkansas signed a law ending a requirement that employers obtain work certificates for children under 16, and the meal-kit company HelloFresh confirmed that it would stop carrying coconut milk from Thailand due to concerns over forced monkey labor.37 38 An analysis of paintings conducted by Indian urologists was reported to have shown that the average depicted penis size has increased over the past seven centuries, and Spanish urologists established formal definitions of growers and showers.39 40 Twenty-eight Colombian schoolgirls were hospitalized for anxiety after playing with Ouija boards, and an anime voice actress was reported to have tweeted a reminder for her fans to bathe before attending her concert.41 42 It was revealed that the city of Newark has rescinded an agreement to be sister cities with the United States of Kailasa, which does not exist.43Jon Edelman

The post Weekly Review first appeared on Harper's Magazine.
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See No Evil,

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From a November discussion on the Eyes Left podcast, between Mike Prysner, an Iraq War veteran, and Mansoor Adayfi, a former detainee at Guantánamo Bay.

mansoor adayfi: As you know, Guantánamo was created out of the legal zone, out of the legal system. Torture was the mechanism of Guantánamo. Torture, abuse, and experimenting on prisoners. We went on a massive hunger strike in 2005. And there was force-feeding. It was torture.

I saw a fucking handsome person come in and he said, “I’m here to ensure that you are treated humanely.”

mike prysner: It was Ron DeSantis?*

adayfi: Yes. And, “If you have any problems, if you have any concerns, just talk to me.” We were drowning in that place. So I was like, “Oh, this is cool. This person will raise the concerns.” But it was a piece of the game. What they were doing was looking for what hurts us more so they could use it against us. In 2006, when DeSantis was there, it was one of the worst times at Guantánamo. The administration, the guards, all of them were the worst. They cracked down on us so hard. When they came to break our hunger strike, a team came to us. The head of the team, he was a general. He said, “I have a job. I was sent here to break your fucking hunger strike. I don’t care why you are here. I don’t care who you are. My job is to make you eat. Today we are talking. Tomorrow there will be no talking.” The second day, they brought piles of Ensure and they started force-feeding us over and over again.

prysner: For those who don’t know, Ensure is a thick milky nutritional shake mainly marketed on daytime television to elderly people. It is very hard to drink.

adayfi: Yes, and Ron DeSantis was there watching us. We were crying, screaming. We were tied to the feeding chair. And he was watching. He was laughing. Our stomachs could not hold this amount of Ensure. They poured one can after another. So when he approached me, I said, “This is the way we are treated!” He said, “You should eat.” I threw up in his face. Literally on his face.

prysner: Ron DeSantis?

adayfi: In his face. Yeah.

prysner: It was well deserved. A JAG lawyer at the time, he would have been well aware this was a violation of international law. There is no question that it was torture.

adayfi: They used to restrain us in that feeding chair. They tied our head, our shoulders, our wrists, our thighs, and our legs. They put some kind of laxative in the feeding liquid. We were shitting ourselves all the time. Then we were moved to solitary confinement—really cold cells. It was like five times a day. It wasn’t feeding. It was just torture. Five times a day. You can’t possibly handle it. They just kept pouring the Ensure. In one week, they broke all the hunger strikers. And he was there. All of them were watching. They also used to beat us. And if we screamed or were bleeding out of our nose and mouth, they were like, “Eat.” The only word they told you was “eat.” We were beaten all day long. Whatever you were doing—they just beat you. Pepper spray, beating, sleep deprivation. That continued for three months. And he was there. He was one of the people that supervised the torture, the abuses, the beatings. All the time at Guantánamo.

prysner: So Ron DeSantis was actually supervising torture, beatings? He was supervising these force-feedings?

adayfi: I’m telling Americans: this guy is a torturer. He is a criminal. He was laughing. And he was there to ensure we were treated humanely.

prysner: He was laughing?

adayfi: Yes, they were looking at us, laughing because we were shitting ourselves. I was screaming and yelling. When your stomach is full of Ensure you can’t breathe. And you are throwing up at the same time. I was screaming. I looked at him and he was actually smiling. Like someone who was enjoying it.

One of the things that hurt us was, you know, when someone comes and tells you, “I’m here to help you, I’m here to ensure that you are treated humanely,” and when he turned against us—not turned against us, showed his true face—it was a shock to us all. He had his notebook. He would ask the prisoners, “Do you have any problems? How can I help you? How have the guards treated you?” I was like, “Wow, thanks!” But everything we told him was turned against us.

prysner: So he basically was gathering intelligence to tell the interrogators what it was that was impacting you most so they could do it more.

adayfi: I remember when we were talking about the noise in the night. We were talking about the vacuums, the generators, the fans, and everything. And they brought more stuff.

prysner: You told DeSantis this and then they increased the noise?

adayfi: They increased the noise. And also the food, for example. We told him we don’t eat meat. What the guards did after that is they mixed all the food with meat.

prysner: And that’s another thing you told DeSantis?

adayfi: It’s not just that. Medicine. Clothing. Treatment. Sleeping. The desecration of the Qur’an. Everything. We talked to him. When they were force-feeding us, he was smiling. Looking at us as trash.

prysner: You told me there was a resistance tactic there, of splashing administrators? Splashing them with your own feces? But you didn’t use this tactic often?

adayfi: Only the worst of the worst got splashed.

prysner: DeSantis?

adayfi: Yes.

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Holy shit. He's somehow more evil than I could imagine.

UM-Flint Chancellor gets 15% raise; dozens top $100K in diverse salary picture as Strategic Transformation decisions appear close

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By Jan Worth-Nelson

The University of Michigan – Flint’s top executive, Chancellor Debasish Dutta, received a 15% pay raise for the 2022-23 fiscal year, bringing his yearly salary to $469,000, according to publicly available sources.

UM-F Chancellor Deba Dutta, PhD. (Photo by Tom Travis)

On average, the rest of the Flint university faculty and staff  received raises of about 3-5%.  The overall University of Michigan pay raise for 2022-23, was 4.1%.

Asked for a response from UMF administration about Dutta’s salary increase, Robb King, UM – Flint director of marketing and communications, confirmed the amount is correct.

He said the increase was related to Dutta’s action to eliminate one of the UM – Flint’s executive positions, vice chancellor for business and finance, in Fall, 2021, as Dutta described in a December interview with EVM.

King noted Dutta “personally took on responsibility for the related units, increasing his own direct reports from seven (7) to 15 and reducing payroll by more than $275,000 per year.

“He did this new and expanded job for a year without additional compensation,”  King said.

“Now in the second year, his fall 2022 salary includes the 4%-5% annual raise (for administrators) and an adjustment for the substantial increase in his workload.”

Dutta’s pay compares to UM – Dearborn Chancellor Domenico Grasso, who is receiving $468,400 for 2022-23. UM President Santa Ono was hired last year at a base pay of $975,000.

Click to view slideshow.

What UM – Flint employees get paid is one of many factors under scrutiny as the downtown campus studies itself in a major effort underway since September, 2022,  aimed at addressing a series of serious challenges, a process the university is calling  “Strategic Transformation.”

As detailed in earlier EVM stories, those challenges include a 30 percent drop in enrollment since 2014,  an “unacceptable” six-year graduation rate of 35 percent, a  deficit of $7.3 million in the last fiscal year, and losses or declines in demand for programs in liberals arts.

The campus is a major downtown employer.

According to data from the UMF’s  Officer of Institutional Analysis and the UM Human Resources Information System, as of Nov, 1, 2022, UM – Flint employs 1,013 people,  with 717 (71 percent) full time and 296 part time (29 percent).

Of those  494 are Faculty, in the following categories:

  • 195 Tenured/Tenure Track Faculty (which includes 23 Academic/Administrators who are tenured faculty members and 1 Emeritus Faculty who is actively working)
  • 228 Lecturers
  • 8 LEO-GLAM (Librarians, Curators and Archivists)
  • 63 Clinical and Adjunct Clinical Faculty”

In addition, there are 445 Staff, who “includes all non-bargained-for and bargained-for staff, and supplemental, 74 Graduate Student Research Assistants.”

In the 2022-23 UM – Flint annual operating budget of $116.5 million approved last June,  salary, wages, and benefits account for almost half, at $56 million.  That operating budget total is down from $154 million in 2021-2022. 

The revenue picture for the campus includes $25 million from state appropriations for 2022-2023, up about $784K from last year.

Photo taken from the third floor of the UM-F Library looking north across the Flint River and the UM-F William S. White building on the north end of campus. (Photo by Tom Travis)

Who gets paid what varies widely.

The average UM – Flint full-time salary, according to 2021-2022 numbers from, was $69,8K, with Dutta exceeding the next-closest employee, Provost and Vice Chancellor Sonja Feist-Price by more than $100K; 13 others had pay of $200K or more in 2021-2022.

Among that group are two former chancellors, Ruth Person and Sue Borrego, who stayed at UM – Flint after their departures from the chancellor’s suite.  They took “retreat rights” as would have been negotiated in their original hiring terms, into their professional departments — Person as professor of management, and Borrego as professor of education.

In an update on request from EVM, a university official clarified Jan. 27 that both Borrego and Person were faculty members in 2021-2022. Borrego’s salary that year was $274,308. Borrego left the University in summer 2022 and thus was not on the 2022-23 salary list. He said  Person is still a faculty member, with a current salary of $236, 085.

Close to 100 more UM – Flint employees are pulling in between $100K and $200K, as of 2021.

The lowest full-time UM-Flint pay recorded for 2021-2022 was $31,200.

The salary distributions — even among faculty and among the UMF’s six colleges, are radically diverse, with some non-tenure-track faculty getting $100,000, while some full professors in liberal arts arenas make thousands less.

The amounts paid have created an economic class structure, some in-house commentators say, and also point to competitive hiring demands, where faculty in management, health sciences, and technology get  paid much more than those in the liberal arts.

For some segments of the staff and non-tenure-track faculty, salaries are negotiated by their respective unions.  In the case of the non-tenure-track faculty, for example, the Lecturers Employee Union (LEO) struck a deal in the last contract for 3 percent yearly pay increases starting from a full-time minimum base of $18,000.

Proposal to cap administrative pay ignored so far

One group concerned with economic equity, among other issues at UM, is One University (1U); it has  participants from all three campuses.

Participants in that group presented a proposal in December, 2021, to the Regents for capping all administrative salaries at UM at $150,000. They received no response, and resubmitted it a year later as what they called  “a transformational idea.”  So far the Regents appear to have ignored it, 1U participants report.

The 1U proposal states,

“In the last few years, the Regents and Central Administration have not provided sufficient resources to UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn to stem the tide of cuts, layoffs, and program reductions. UMF recently put the Africana Studies program on moratorium. Dearborn has slashed Applied Music.

Protesters gather on the UM-Flint campus. (Photo by Tom Travis)

“This proposal seeks to remedy the financial distress causing these cuts by setting a $150,000 cap on administrative salaries and saving UMF $1.29M per year and UMD $1.66M. These funds can be repurposed toward the central educational mission of these campuses.”

“On the Flint campus, roughly 14 administrators earn more than $150,000. We estimate their total salaries, excluding benefits, to be $3.5M. The marginal earnings above $150,000 is roughly 1M. The fringe benefits, calculated at 20% of salary, was determined only on the marginal income above $150,000, resulting in roughly $1.3M in savings per year.”

Asked about the silence from the Regents, 1U participants jointly responded, with requests for anonymity,  “This isn’t exactly news but [we]  think it’s relevant…that it genuinely spoke to the culture on our campus. [We’re] guessing that the proposal could come across as snarky but [we]  don’t think that was the intention. Many of us truly believe that we need mission-driven leadership and that seems like one of the things lacking at our institution.”

Process moving toward final recommendations?

In a Jan. 18 update on the Strategic Transformation website, Dutta stated that the Strategic Transformation consultants and university planners will  “move toward our goal of completing the academic program phase by the end of the first quarter of this year. Soon, we will also begin work on the broad range of academic and student support services that will be necessary to ensure student success and a vibrant academic environment at UM-Flint.”

“Based on the feedback received at the Dec. 9 town hall and from ITAC, the Huron Group is engaged in conversations with additional members of the Flint community and school district superintendents. They are providing us with valuable insights about how they interact and would like to work with the university now and in the future,”  Dutta stated.

French Hall on the UM-Flint campus in downtown Flint. (Photo by Tom Travis)

Coordination of the Strategic Transformation process has been in the hands of the Huron Group, a national consulting firm hired by UM last year which has been a source of controversy because of its work at other institutions, where  “slash and burn” decisions in some cases decimated liberal arts and humanities programs and led to major faculty layoffs.

So far, specifics about what is to come at UM – Flint are unclear, and many involved in the process are complaining about a lack of transparency by the Huron Group and doubts that their feedback and ideas actually are being incorporated into the findings.

Two appointed groups have been ostensible  in-house channels between the consultants, Dutta’s administration, and the rest of the campus —  to pass along information, audit progress reports, and most of all  provide input.  The two groups are a Steering Committee made of up UMF’s top executives,  and the Innovation and Transformation Advisory Council (ITAC), comprised of 13 representatives drawn from the UMF’ six colleges, staff council, and student government.

ITAC group received “synthesis,” expresses concerns

On Jan, 19, the Huron group presented a draft  to ITAC, a “synthesis of findings” of the market analysis, program economics, and stakeholder feedback they have collected. “At the same time, our schools and colleges have begun to develop academic transformation plans with the data available to them to date,” Dutta predicted.

Participants who received the ITAC presentation, including Associate Professor of English James Schirmer who represents the College of Arts and Science (CAS)  in the group,  expressed concerns about  what they heard, where the process is heading and about whether ITAC’s input is making a difference.

“ITAC is no closer to understanding its role since this process began,” Schirmer said. “Charges and charts have shifted in unhelpful ways, and so have timelines and expectations of effort. Council members are disappointed with the lack of clarity and guidance from the chancellor and frustrated by Huron consistently ignoring our concerns and questions.

“Still, ITAC wants to be constructive and so intends to put together its own “deliverable” (despite the chancellor and Huron stating that is not necessary or wanted),” Schirmer said.

EVM Consulting Editor Jan Worth-Nelson can be reached at  EVM Education Beat reporter Harold C. Ford contributed research to this story.

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I asked Chat GPT to write a song in the style of Nick Cave and this is what it produced. What do you think? Verse 1: In the depths of the night, I hear a call A voice that echoes, through the hall It’s a siren’s song, that pulls me in Takes me to a place, where I can’t begin Chorus: I am the sinner, I am the saint I am the darkness, I am the light I am the hunter, I am the prey I am the devil, I am the savior Verse 2: I walk the streets, with my head held high I’ve got my demons, but I’ll make them fly I’ll dance with the devil, and I’ll play his game I’ll be the one, to call his name Chorus: I am the sinner, I am the saint I am the darkness, I am the light I am the hunter, I am the prey I am the devil, I am the savior Bridge: I’ve got the blood of angels, on my hands I’ve got the fire of hell, in my eyes I’m the king of the abyss, I’m the ruler of the dark I’m the one that they fear, in the shadows they hark Chorus: I am the sinner, I am the saint I am the darkness, I

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Dear Mark, Since its launch in November last year many people, most buzzing with a kind of algorithmic awe, have sent me songs ‘in the style of Nick Cave’ created by ChatGPT. There have been dozens of them. Suffice to say, I do not feel the same enthusiasm around this technology. I understand that ChatGPT […]

The post I asked Chat GPT to write a song in the style of Nick Cave and this is what it produced. What do you think? <br> <br> Verse 1: <br> In the depths of the night, I hear a call <br> A voice that echoes, through the hall <br> It’s a siren’s song, that pulls me in <br> Takes me to a place, where I can’t begin <br> <br> Chorus: <br> I am the sinner, I am the saint <br> I am the darkness, I am the light <br> I am the hunter, I am the prey <br> I am the devil, I am the savior <br> <br> Verse 2: <br> I walk the streets, with my head held high <br> I’ve got my demons, but I’ll make them fly <br> I’ll dance with the devil, and I’ll play his game <br> I’ll be the one, to call his name <br> <br> Chorus: <br> I am the sinner, I am the saint <br> I am the darkness, I am the light <br> I am the hunter, I am the prey <br> I am the devil, I am the savior <br> <br> Bridge: <br> I’ve got the blood of angels, on my hands <br> I’ve got the fire of hell, in my eyes <br> I’m the king of the abyss, I’m the ruler of the dark <br> I’m the one that they fear, in the shadows they hark <br> <br> Chorus: <br> I am the sinner, I am the saint <br> I am the darkness, I am the light <br> I am the hunter, I am the prey <br> I am the devil, I am the savior <br> <br> Outro: <br> So come with me, to the edge of the night <br> Where the darkness and the light collide <br> We’ll walk the line, between the good and the bad <br> And we’ll see, who comes out on top in the end. appeared first on The Red Hand Files.

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